Folha de São Paulo (Brazil), January 4, 2012
It is as if they learned nothing at all from the lies and imperial lust for power that dragged us into a murderous, multi-trillion dollar war with Iraq. On Friday the New York Times editorial board lauded U.S. military threats against Iran and called for “maximum economic pressure” to be brought to bear against the country. And this is America’s most influential “liberal” newspaper. The right-wing hate media, which reaches an audience in the tens of millions every day, is even worse.
Iran has responded with threats of its own, to close the Strait of Hormuz – where one-fifth of the world’s oil passes through—if the U.S. cuts off their oil exports. Not surprising, given that the U.S. government is trying to strangle Iran economically.
The United States’ massive international diplomatic and propaganda effort may not lead immediately to war – the timing of any build-up or attack will, as with the Iraq war, be subject to electoral considerations. The problem is that these people are building the groundwork for a war that will happen when this President – or the next one—decides it is convenient. And when that time comes, it will likely be too late to stop it – that is what happened with Iraq, despite tens of millions of people taking to the streets worldwide in protest.
The march toward war is accelerating now because of the 2012 elections in the United States. The Republican presidential primary is mostly a circus, with all of the candidates except libertarian Ron Paul calling for war against Iran, and criticizing Obama for not being “tough enough.” President Obama’s response, since he is trying to pull votes away from the Republicans, is to appear as warlike as possible without actually provoking or starting a real war. Meanwhile the Congress, with the House controlled by Republicans and the whole legislature heavily influenced by the Israel lobby, has added even more pressure for war.
But no one should be fooled into thinking that this election-year war-mongering reflects the will of American voters. Republican presidential candidates are competing in the primary for the most right-wing, pro-war extremist voters (and campaign contributors) in the world, and Obama is following them. And the Israel lobby is following the pro-war, right-wing government of Israel. But polling data show that despite the daily brainwashing, the vast majority of Americans don’t want a war with Iran.
In a 2010 detailed poll [PDF] that has become more relevant recently, respondents were asked whether the U.S. should intervene in support of Israel, if Israel bombed Iran’s nuclear facilities, and Iran retaliated, resulting in a war between the two countries. Fifty-six percent said no, with 38 percent saying yes.
Since the U.S. media does not recognize an independent civil society on foreign policy issues, the voice of the American people goes mostly unheard. And it doesn’t help that the U.S. government used its muscle in the UN to appoint a compliant head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. This may explain that agency’s recent change of tone to one that is more amenable to the war party.
So we appeal to Brazil and all other governments that do not want this war to help us stop it. When Brazil, together with Turkey, proposed a nuclear fuel swap arrangement for Iran in May of 2010, it temporarily put a dent in the armor of the war machine. We need more of this kind of diplomatic help.